Often the motivational anthems that come from underground emcees sound weak, like thinly veiled excuses to break out of their usual highly self conscious exterior. Others have the unfortunate camp quality to them that typically makes a good family movie, but too cheesy of a hip hop record; one that begs to be ridiculed and then immediately shut off, never to be heard of again. With all that in mind, its an impressive feat of lyrical skill and all around style that the young Chicago emcee, Max Wonders, avoids falling into either category in his latest single, "I Know."
While "I know" is Wonder's loud and declarative statement, the accompanying video is not. Each scene is covered in rendered in an almost grey, drab VHS quality; one that accurately conveys the dreariness of Chitown's rainy season and winter. The camera never moves too far off of our protagonist, as he raps some of the most incredible bars he has come up with in his short career. "Everybody telling me that the balls in my court, and I wish someone would come and try to steal from me," it's not necessarily the punchlines' cleverness, but the passionate way in which he spits them. Leaving the visuals relatively simple, but focusing on his impassioned recitation of them the true star, makes the contrast quite powerful.
Wonders wants everyone to understand that he knows exactly what is going on and where he is headed. His self-assured attitude, nearing pure arrogance, has a distinct cool flavor to it. Yes he is still unknown outside of rapping circles and his hometown, but he spits as if he has already been around the world and back, conquering it during his travels. It is an instant pick me up and one to play, whenever self-doubt starts to slither its way into your mind.
"I Know" was a standout track from The Wonder Tape, which you should download as soon as possible. Max Wonders is still growing and maturing into his sound, but he is already making great strides. Check out his soundcloud page for more of his music, you will not be disappointed.